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A History of the Horsetooth Open Water Swim


Oliver Turner, an English Channel swimmer and a 3-time Manhattan Island Marathon Swim finisher, founded the Horsetooth Open Water Swim in 1999.  While he was a graduate student at Colorado State University, he came up with the idea of a long distance swim that would challenge the swimmers and also be a fundraiser for the Wingshadow Foundation. His vision had the swimmers navigate the length of the reservoir (~10 km) where in alternating years it would be swum either north to south or south to north. The first year, there were 15 brave souls that swam the reservoir north to south.

A four-year dam repair and strengthening project began in 2000 that virtually drained the reservoir. This caused the swim to be temporarily moved to nearby Carter Lake in 2000 where a 4.8-mile out-and-back course was implemented.

In 2001, an alternate out-and-back 10 km course was identified in Horsetooth Reservoir.  Starting about midway, at the Sail and Saddle Club, swimmers went to the north end and back.

In its drained state, Horsetooth Reservoir resembled two bodies of water with a channel between them that the swimmers needed to swim through.  In 2002, a weird situation occurred where the southernmost section was 16°C (60°F) while the northernmost section was 21°C (70°F). The swimming from cold water into warm water and then back into cold water proved to be unique and particularly challenging to quite a few swimmers.

In 2003 the 2.4 and 1.2 mile swims were added. By 2004, Horsetooth Reservoir dam rework was complete and the swim was able to return to the original format of swimming the full length of the lake. The number of participants grew and with the addition of the shorter races, the direction of the swim changed.   Swimmers started at the south end and swam north to finish in Satanka Cove.

In 2006, several exciting things happened with the race. First, the Horsetooth Swim 10K was awarded the U.S. Masters Swimming Long Distance Open Water Championship for the 6+ mile distance.  It also was the first year of youth (age group) (1000 yard, 250 yard) swims.

In 2007, with the closing of the Wingshadow Foundation, the beneficiary changed to Team Wellness and Prevention whose mission is promoting healthy lifestyles through the prevention of substance abuse.

In 2011, Larimer County Parks completed a beautiful pavilion at the South Bay beach area. This provided a perfect, beautiful venue for hosting the shorter races and the finish line for the 10 km marathon swim.  The 10 km swim changed back to north – south swim. The side effect of this change is the South Bay beach area is short of the full length of the lake by about 500 m. Several approaches have been made to address this.

In 2011, the 10 km marathon swimmers swam past the finish line about 250 mm and then back in to add the distance. In 2012, the water level was extremely low due to a severe drought such that there was not enough lake past the finish line to make the full 10 km distance. The decision was made to just swim point-to-point the length of what was left of the lake, resulting in a distance of 9.4 km (5.85 miles). In 2013 the water level returned to a more normal level and the decision was made to direct the swimmers into a cove near the start to add distance to make a full 10 km marathon swim.

In 2013, Horsetooth Swim Committee member and endurance swimmer Joe Bakel swam the entire 10k in the butterfly stroke. 

In 2017, the event was moved to the weekend following the Labor Day Holiday weekend for safety and congestion concerns on the water and also on the land facilities. The later event allowed for the opportunity for collegiate teams to participate for the first time in several years. Women’s collegiate swim teams from Colorado State University, University of Northern Colorado and the United States Air Force Academy competed in the event. In addition, the United States Air Force men’s swim team competed. The collegiate teams swam in their own men’s and women’s 2.4 mile collegiate division.

For 2018, the event will be held on Sunday September 9, 2018. This year we expect approximately five collegiate teams to participate. We are also hoping to bring in more youth swimmers due to the increase collegiate participation. To help transition our young swimmers, we are hosting a youth open water swim workshop at Horsetooth Reservoir on August 25, 2018 at 8:00 AM. The workshop will be coached by seasoned open water swim coaches, athletes and experts. More information about the swim including registration information is available at





By Andrew Romanoff, President and CEO of Mental Health Colorado

What stops nearly 400,000 Coloradans from getting the mental health care they need? You can learn a lot by asking them. That’s one of the things we’ve been doing over the past 18 months, as part of a statewide listening tour. A new report from the Colorado Health Institute confirms what we’ve heard. The report shows that more
Coloradans than ever now have health insurance. But the number who still need mental health care has barely budged over the last four years.

The single biggest barrier: cost. More than half of those who say they need but do not receive mental health
care cite the cost of treatment. A woman in Fort Collins told us that she and her husband were dedicating their
retirement savings to their daughter’s mental health care.

The new report does show real gains when it comes to insurance. Four years ago, a lack of coverage stopped an estimated 100,000 Coloradans from getting the mental health care they needed. Only one-third as many cite that barrier today. Unfortunately, coverage does not guarantee care. Nearly half of those who need mental health care say they don’t believe their insurance will cover it. Are they right? That depends.

For the time being, federal law makes mental health care an essential benefit. The law also requires insurers to provide equal coverage for mental and physical care. But passing a law and actually enforcing it are two different tasks.


We’re urging our delegation in Congress to preserve mental health and substance use services as essential benefits. And we’re working with the state Division of Insurance to strengthen the enforcement of mental health parity.

Finding a provider who will take insurance can be particularly challenging. Mental health professionals regularly tell us that reimbursement rates are too low and that joining an insurance network is too difficult. The result: wait times that stretch far beyond the seven days state rules allow. The problem is especially pronounced in rural
Colorado, where mental health professionals are few and far between.

My own family learned what can happen when a mental illness goes undetected — and untreated. My first cousin died by suicide two-and-a-half years ago, the victim of a severe depression she couldn’t share and we couldn’t see.

More than one million Coloradans experience a mental health or substance use disorder each year. Statistics do little justice to the lives they lead, the challenges they face, or the value we should all place in their recovery. How do we make it possible for every Coloradan to receive high-quality care? By bringing down the cost of treatment, improving the recruitment and retention of mental health professionals, educating consumers and protecting their rights—by treating mental health and substance use services as essential benefits not simply on paper but in practice.

Andrew Romanoff served as the speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives. He is now the president and
CEO of Mental Health Colorado.
2017 Colorado Health Access Survey: The New Normal

Survey Sarah


Let's Evaluate this

By Sarah Allison- Evaluation Director


This month, I would love to step away from sharing our awesome programming results to talk about all of the different kind of data we collect and work with here at TEAM Wellness & Prevention! It is vital that we collect large amounts of data to ensure that all of our programs and activities are hitting the mark and meet the needs of our community.

We carefully evaluate all of our programs using a number of different tried-and-true survey tools. In the last few months, we have shared data from our Engaging Families Initiative, our Define Youth program, and our Youth Empowered Yoga program. Coming soon, we will be sharing data on our TEAM Fashion program as well. In all of our programming, we collect data on our youth’s demographics, social support systems, history with substance use, perception of substance use, and mindfulness. All of this data comes straight back to me here at the TEAM office where I enter it into our databases, clean it, and begin my analyses!  

In addition to our programming data, we have some larger community level data coming through our office on a regular basis. Our Responsible Association of Retailers collects information from I.D. compliance checks at local alcohol retailers and our new TenderWise program, which provides budtender training with a prevention lens, will be bringing in data from the marijuana industry in the near future. Keeping track of the trends in the industry allows us to work together as a community to prevent substances from getting into the hands of local youth and that all adult patrons are served responsibly.

Finally, here at TEAM Wellness & Prevention, we regularly complete community needs assessments to ensure that any intervention we complete reflects the true needs of our population. Currently, we have begun a DUI/DWAI community needs assessment where we are collecting data and synthesizing it to get a better understanding of DUI/DWAI issues throughout Larimer County so that we can go into our strategic planning well informed.

We are always willing to discuss and share the results of our work. Please reach out to me at anytime if you have a data request!




Regional Efforts to address Opioids

by Adam Musielewicz- Coalition Director


Prevention efforts that attempt to change community conditions rely on relationships. Team is fortunate to be part of a regional collaboration focusing on addressing the opioid issue in Larimer and Weld Counties. Led by SummitStone Health Partners and the Northern Colorado Health Alliance, the regional Opioid Prevention Work Group focuses on proven ways to address and prevent any further use/misuse of opioid based prescription drugs. One such way is ensuring medical providers are knowledgeable about the risks associated with opioids as well as alternatives to prescribing these powerful drugs. In the next few months, there will be several education/training events focusing on safe prescribing. While medical providers are the target audience, anyone can attend these events because the more we know as patients, the better conversations we can have with our doctor or pharmacist. For more resources on safe prescribing, check out Team’s Facebook page for updates or go to the Northern Colorado Health Alliance Opioid Prevention Toolkit page at:


Programming for prevention


By Meg Keigley- Program Specialist

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Team is proud to announce that it’s 5th session of Define Youth with Loveland Municipal Court has just begun!


Define Youth is a Team program that has been serving Larimer County youth for the last 4 years.  Designed to be an alternative to probation for underage athletes found engaging in substance use, the program quickly grew to serve youth in a number of different capacities.  Most recently, Define Youth became a partner program for Loveland Municipal Court.  Now youth who pass through Judge Joneson’s court doors have the opportunity to defer their sentence by participating in the 10 week Define Youth program. 


Youth who are sentenced to the program commit to attending all program sessions in addition to completing 8 hours of community service and presenting a “Defining Moments Project” at their final court hearing.  Their Defining Moments Project is an opportunity for the youth to showcase something they learned or experienced while in the program that has changed their viewpoint or trajectory.  Now starting it’s 5th session, Define Youth serves 10 participants per session with a near 100% graduation rate. 


For more information on the program or ways you can help support Define Youth contact Meg Keigley at (970)224-9931.



Parenting Partnerships


Your Life on Brainwise: Part 3

By Jane Wilson- Parent Engagement Specialist

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Last month we learned that everyone has problems but through practice, we can retrain our brain to STOP and THINK before reacting on emotions. We are working on building new connections in our brain to use thinking skills (our Wizard Brain) to bypass Lizard Brain reactions.

From an evolutionary standpoint, we are neurologically designed to feel safest when we belong to and are part of a group. In the brain, the stress response lowers when we are around familiar people. When we are not around familiar people, we feel more stressed as our brains try to determine if we are indeed safe in this strange group or in danger. Our stress response kicks in, making us physiologically, emotionally, and cognitively vulnerable to stress.

Luckily, there is a whole world out there to provide us with support. We call it our community, our village. It is also the second Wise Way: Constellation of Support. When we face a problem, it is important to identify those who can support you. You can call upon your inner circle (your family and close friends) or connect with your broader constellation (teachers, mentors, coaches, books, etc.).

It is also important to understand that different people help with different problems. Family and friends are often the people we go to first, but keep in mind your broader constellation can play a key role too. Sometimes the people you think might help you with a problem may or may not be very helpful. Your support system can change from problem to problem as well.

The Wizard Brain is in charge of knowing how, when and who from to seek help. Visualizing the people and resources around you as a constellation of stars helps to understand how complex it can be to identify the people and sources you have available to help you solve a problem. We gain wisdom, experience and insight from our support system.

For more information on Engaging Families and the BrainWise program, email


RAR News

Tenderwise is a HIT!

Nathan Dewey

If you have not heard about it yet, at the end of May we officially launched “TenderWise”, a Responsible Vendor Program(RVP) for Budtenders and the whole of the Cannabis Industry. TenderWise has been approved by the Medical Enforcement Division (MED) of Colorado in cooperation with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE). We are the only prevention, and non-profit, organization to be doing this in Colorado, as well as all of the United States.

TenderWise is a training class that instructs cannabis industry budtenders, managers, and owners with education on Colorado marijuana laws, policies and procedures to responsibly sell cannabis and cannabis infused products in our Colorado legalized and regulated environment. Special attention is given to preventing youth access, reducing at-risk activities and other harms that bring negative attention to the industry. We want to help partner with the industry for responsible use and sale.

On May 24th, we had our first 10 participants of the RVP program and it was a great success! Everyone who attended the first training course passed with flying colors and have given us great feedback on what they learnt, the course in general and all the great things they were able to take away from the training. In cooperation with the CDPHE, we are making sure to put a real and strong emphasis on the substance use disorder prevention side of the sales in the cannabis industry, which strays away from the traditional Cannabis responsible vendor programs offered in Colorado, with the most up to date information, statistics and prevention efforts going on here in Colorado. One of our missions at TEAM Wellness & Prevention and the RAR Cannabis Chapter is to spread this program as far and wide across our state as possible. Our goal is to be better and different from any other program offered, with a heavy emphasis on the education about substance use disorder prevention within every community that we are training in, while making it the most affordable program in the state as well. We do not want any place or anyone to miss out on this training due to financial restraints.

Our next training will be taking place on June 25th, from 1 pm to 5 pm, at The Lodge at McKenzie’s Place. The training is $20 for all RAR Cannabis members and $100 for non-members. If you would like to join the Cannabis Chapter of RAR or would like to attend the next TenderWise training, please register at the link below:




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Collaboration Over Cooperation for Community Behavioral Health

By Gordon Coombes- Executive Director

This past month several TEAM staff, including myself, attended the 2nd Annual Shared Risk and Protective Factor Conference in Keystone, Colorado. This conference is a partnership between the Colorado Dept. of Human Services, Dept. of Public Health and Environment and the Dept. of Education. The conference aims to bring youth serving agencies and organizations together to work collaboratively to impact the risk factors and protective factors that impact youth growth and development, both good and bad.

Traditionally, the nonprofit and the public health world has been very siloed in our work. For example, TEAM has historically been a drug abuse prevention organization. There are other organizations in our community that historically have served to prevent other at-risk activities, teen pregnancy, suicide, sexual assault, etc. Experts have known for decades that these risky activities all share many of the same risk and protective factors. To truly impact the behavior, we must impact these factors. This idea is the foundation of prevention work today and embodies the idea of getting “upstream” from the problem.

Since these are shared factors, it only seems logical that prevention organizations would work together to accomplish their respective missions. It also seems logical that collaborating would have the greatest impact on overall community health AND, if we get down to the nuts and bolts of it, CAN and WILL save lives. Therefore, we must all be collaborating, right?

Sadly, that is not often the case and it really is not that unusual. Throughout the country it is generally the norm. Frequently, agencies and organizations are quite content to stay in their own lane or “silo” in order maintain perceived harmony, especially nonprofit organizations. I witnessed that firsthand shortly after I started at TEAM. I merely mentioned suicide prevention at our Simply Red fundraiser and the following week I was visited by a longtime Executive Director from another nonprofit who warned me that I needed to stay in my own lane. Not being one to take a threat well, I began to talk with my peers about “silo busting.”

Fortunately, we have come a long way in a short time in this community. Progressive thinkers in the local nonprofit world are talking about collective impact and shared community health, which is great. We are doing a really great job at cooperating, but that is not enough. We must start collaborating.

Well, what is the difference?


Collaboration is coordinated and synchronized work that is the result of a continued effort to impact a shared outcome to a problem.

Cooperation is accomplished by the dividing tasks among organizations, groups or individuals so that each person is responsible for solving a portion of the problem.

True collaboration is really difficult work. True collaboration means giving up control and becoming vulnerable. It means being transparent about your short and long-term individual and organizational goals and sometimes putting the collective impact before those goals. True collaboration is inherently messy and is the “ewy-guey” of great work with broad reaching collective impact. True collaboration means putting everyone’s ego aside and being open to listening to everyone’s perspective and ideas.  

In order to really change and SAVE lives in our community we need to move from cooperating to collaborating. As the Executive Director of TEAM, I pledge to move from cooperating to collaborating in the name of our collective community health. I ask all the other nonprofits in our community to do the same. Together everyone achieves more. Hmmm??? That has a ring to it.?